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Ninety7 Loft review: Loft is a solid add-on that makes your Google Home portable

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The Good The Ninety7 Loft easily snaps onto the Google Home and gave it a solid 10 hours of battery life in our tests -- a number that even exceeds the company's claims.

The Bad The battery life indicator isn't accurate.

The Bottom Line The Loft adds a sizable battery to your Google Home without taking away any smarts or sound quality. If you want your smart speaker to be portable, it's a good option.

7.9 Overall
  • Features 7
  • Usability 8
  • Design 8
  • Performance 9

The Ninety7 Loft invites you to take the tether off of your Google Home ($99 at Walmart). A battery-powered base for your smart speaker, the Loft lets you bring your Google Home with you from room to room without needing to find a new place to plug it in. If you own a Google Home and want it to be portable, the Ninety7 Loft makes for a solid, if pricey, purchase.

You can buy the Ninety7 Loft now on the company's site for $49.95. We tested the carbon-colored variety, but it also comes in copper and snow. It's also available on Amazon and on Best Buy's site in the US, it's available in the UK for £49.95 and the company plans to bring the base to Australia as well. The US price converts to roughly AU$65. Note that this is a third-party add-on for the Google Home. You'll need to buy Google's smart speaker separately for $130/£130/AU$200.

Staying out of the way

The Loft doesn't affect the basic functionality of the Google Home. You primarily control a Google Home with voice commands. You can ask it to set a reminder, search the internet, turn on your smart lights or a number of other functions enabled by Google's digital assistant (just called Google Assistant). The Loft doesn't hinder Google's ability to hear you, so you can issue a voice command from anywhere in the room.

The battery base also doesn't noticeably affect Google's sound quality. The company's previous product -- the Ninety7 Vaux -- gives Amazon's fun-size Echo Dot ($25 at Amazon) a boost in sound quality, but the Loft mostly just stays out of the way. To test the Loft's battery, I played a rock-and-roll playlist at 50 percent volume. The songs sounded good if unspectacular -- just like they would normally on a Google Home.

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Align the Loft's plug barrel with the bottom of the Google Home.

Ry Crist/CNET

Installing a Loft takes a matter of seconds. You'll need to twist off the Home's magnetic, decorative base. You then push the Loft in place, aligning the plug barrel inside of the Loft with the plug on the Google Home. The Loft weighs just under a pound, so it'll make your Google Home heavier. It'll also make your Google Home taller, so bear that in mind if you have your smart speaker set up in a tight spot.

You can then plug in the Google Home with the Loft installed and the battery will charge. You can use the Google Home normally while the Loft is charging, and leave it plugged in if you don't need it to be portable for a while.

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